The Confederate Commander at Fort Sumter Prepares for the Second Siege of Charleston Harbor

He writes the Chief of Ordnance promising to send some firepower from Sumter to the city

The letter signed by both men and mentions Jewish Confederate officer Abraham Myers

Though a continuous presence off Charleston was maintained by the Federals from May 28, 1861, when the Union navy established its blockade, Charleston did not find itself under constant attack until July 1863. Previously the city had survived the...

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The Confederate Commander at Fort Sumter Prepares for the Second Siege of Charleston Harbor

He writes the Chief of Ordnance promising to send some firepower from Sumter to the city

The letter signed by both men and mentions Jewish Confederate officer Abraham Myers

Though a continuous presence off Charleston was maintained by the Federals from May 28, 1861, when the Union navy established its blockade, Charleston did not find itself under constant attack until July 1863. Previously the city had survived the sinking of a “Stone Fleet” (old whaling vessels sunk in the shipping channel as an obstruction in late 1861 and early 1862), a land attack directed against Secessionville in June 1862, and a naval assault against the harbor defenses by nine ironclads on April 7, 1863. The defeat of the separate army and navy attacks resulted in the formation of a combined naval and land assault led by General Quincy A. Gillmore and Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. On July 10, 1863, the date that Charleston newspapers declared as the start of the siege, Union troops stormed ashore and captured most of Morris Island, but they were stopped on July 11 and 18 from taking Battery Wagner.

The commander at Sumter was Thomas Rhett, and it was up to him to command the troops and supply the men along with Beauregard.

The Confederate Chief of Ordnance during the Civil War was Josiah Gorgas, who managed to keep the Confederate armies well supplied with weapons and ammunition, despite the Union blockade and even though the South had hardly any munitions industry before the war began. Abraham Myers was the Quartermaster of the Confederate Armies. He was also Jewish, from an old South Carolina Jewish family.

Autograph note signed, J. Gorgas, July 20, 1863, amidst the siege, to Rhett. “Letter from Gen. Maury (and Major Myers Ord. Officer) referred to Secretary of War. States their guns asked for by Gen. Beauregard are in position there.” The Confederate Secretary of War at that time was James Seddon.

On the verso is an Autograph letter signed, Thomas Rhett, July 24, 1863, to Chief of Ordnance J. Gorges. “In reply to your inquiry as what we are able to do for Charleston, I have the honor to say that in addition to the guns already sent of which I gave you a list yesterday, there are four 10 inch pieces now on their way to Bellona [ in Charleston] which I suppose might be sent there. Three more I am informed come from the same foundry next week.”

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